Submitted by Adam Johnson / Harvey Mudd College on Mon, 05/16/2016 - 14:00
My Notes

This is a short worksheet that guides students through simple metal lattices (SCP, CCP, HCP) and how filling holes in these lattices results in ionic lattices (NaCl, CsCl, fluorite, etc.).

The worksheet was used as an in-class activity after students had read about the material in the text. This activity is probably suitable for first-year students, though I used it with juniors/seniors.

Attachment Size
in class exercise on lattices 52.5 KB
Learning Goals

Students will be able to do the following:

for simple lattices:

draw the lattice

determine how many atoms per cell

determine the coordination number, CN, of an atom

locate common holes and describe their CN

calculate the % of space filled up by the atoms


For ionic solids:

draw the lattice and count the number of ions in the cell

relate to a simple lattice by hole-filling

determine the # and CN of both cations and anions

Equipment needs

none, though a box of pennies or marbles or ping pong balls might be helpful to visualize closest packing. Having models or computer models would have been helpful to show on a screen at the front of the room. rotatable cif files would be especially good, and next time I do this I will prepare cif files or crystalmaker files and upload them here.

Implementation Notes

This was a bit too long for a 50-minute class period but students finished it up at home. The students who had spent the time reading the book before class definitely did better on the exercise than those who were clearly doing it for the first time in class. Students struggled a bit with the geometry/trig calculations.

Were I to do this again, I would have 3-d rotatable structures available (cif files or crystalmaker files) to help students with the visualization.

Time Required
1-1.5 50 minute class periods


Evaluation Methods

I walked through the classroom and guided the students as they worked in pairs or groups of three. All the answers were in prior assigned reading from their text so if they were confused, they had that to look at later.

Evaluation Results

Some students had trouble seeing some of the holes in the simple lattices, so it was helpful that I was walking around to show them the holes. It was good to have students work together becasue some students were able to see the holes in the geometries and help their partners.

Creative Commons License
Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike CC BY-NC-SA